Source: AQUACULTURE, 452 128-133, FEB 1 2016
Brief summary of the paper: There is a growing interest in the development of hapuku (Polyprion oxygeneios) for aquaculture in New Zealand and Australia. This is driven by the high value of this species prized for its excellent flesh quality, texture and its rapid growth capability.
As a relatively new aquaculture candidate, little is currently known about their thermal tolerance and stress response. Juveniles inhabit surface waters, have a high rate of growth and move into a demersal habitat at an age between 3 and 4 years, where water temperature is cooler (7–15 °C) and more stable.
The sea surface temperature in New Zealand can reach 22 °C during the summer months in more northerly locations, and captive rearing has indicated that during periods of high temperature, growth is reduced and it is possible that the physiological response is compromised.
We examined the effects of two rearing temperatures (18 °C and 22 °C) and three commercial diets on the growth of P. oxygeneios during a 14 week trial. At the end of this trial, fish were exposed to a crowding stressor, and their stress response (plasma cortisol, glucose and cholesterol levels) determined.
In addition, we examined the temporal stress response of P. oxygeneiosacclimated to 18 °C and 22 °C subjected to a single acute handling stress. Specific growth rate and condition factor significantly increased over time in fish reared at 18 °C, but not at 22 °C. Plasma cortisol levels in hapuku prior to and after application of the stressors were within the range observed in other teleost species and the magnitude of the cortisol response was higher in hapuku subjected to crowding than handling stress.
In summary, the results indicated that rearing P. oxygeneios at temperatures of 22 °C compromised their growth and that all three diets tested promoted growth in hapuku reared at 18 °C but not at 22 °C.
Statement of relevance
Hapuku over 1 kg had better growth rates at 18 °C than 22 °C.